Mamma Mia! For a bunch of people fairly new to singing as a group, the Vernon Glee Club sure had it together for their inaugural performance.
Taking place at the Powerhouse Theatre over the weekend, the show choir delivered ABBA’s greatest hits in an ode to the musical Mamma Mia!, which originally opened in the West End of London in 1999.
With the music composed by ABBA’s original two male leads, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, Mamma Mia! has since been performed on Broadway and all over the world, and was turned into a film starring Meryl Streep not too long ago.
And honestly, anyone who saw the film version may agree that the singing done by Vernon’s Glee clubbers was, in comparison, music to the ears.
Without performing the actual musical verbatim, the local group did a valiant job of telling the story completely through song and dance.
And with ABBA’s music, that really was enough to tell the story. Who’d have thought all those pop disco ditties we were hearing all those years ago would actual mean something!
Vernon Glee Club leaders and admitted Gleeks Therese Parent and Julie Armitage, seen with grins wide as the Cheshire Cat at the back of the theatre, really whipped their singers into shape for this performance.
The group only got together for the first time in September, but once given the moment to shine, they came through as colourful as a rainbow, and not just from those feather boas they wore in the encore.
It took a few numbers for some vocal cords to warm up, and for some sound adjustments to be made, but by the time Thank You for the Music came up, the audience was singing and clapping along.
The glee club cast, too many to name, were having just as much fun on stage. It was contagious.
Even those who were not huge fans of the Swedish über group during their heyday in the ‘70s/’80s (and you have to ask why anyone who didn’t like ABBA would be doing at a show like Mamma Mia!) could be heard singing and laughing.
Surrounded by the 18 or so gorgeous women, the four males in the group seemed to be having an exceptionally good time, especially in numbers such as the sweet and sassy Take a Chance on Me.
And it was especially apt to have that many men, considering the premise of Mamma Mia!, where a young woman is preparing to marry her fiancé and wants her father to walk her down the aisle (as heard in the opening number, complete with smoke effect, I Have A Dream).
The problem is she doesn’t know who her real father is.
When she discovers her mother’s old diary, she finds out her mother had three paramours around the time she was born (cue Honey, Honey), and so she invites them all to her wedding, without letting her mother know.
And then the party really begins, helped along by those wonderfully catchy numbers such as Mamma Mia!, Dancing Queen, and Super Trooper, done in flash and style by the glee clubbers.
There were some beautifully tender moments too, as when Lori Hancock, (playing the mother here) delivered a dramatic rendition of The Winner Takes it All –– definitely a stand out.
But with all “sang” and done, Mamma Mia! was truly a team effort from the soloists and the chorus members, and the fantastic live band that played ABBA’s music note perfect.
With three sold-out performances, the Vernon Glee Club, which operates out of the Vernon Community Music School, also did some good.
Proceeds from the concert were slated to go to the Sound Foundation Capital Campaign, which is working towards raising $305,000 to build a new foundation and do necessary repairs to the century old Smith House, which houses the VCMS.
Let’s hope for more Money, Money, Money.
–– Kristin Froneman is the arts and entertainment editor at The Morning Star.